You're going to connect the two leg–apron assemblies to the stretchers using cross lap joints. These are among the easiest and most forgiving of wood joints to make, and they're also quite sturdy. Mark the joint positions on the legs and stretchers. Start the half-lap joints on the legs by notching the two outside lines with a circular saw set to a depth of 1½ inches. Guide the saw using a triangular rafter square. Between the two outside cuts make a series of relief cuts spaced ⅛ inch apart (fig. 3). Then use a sharp chisel to chop away the waste (fig. 4). When you cut the half-lap joints on the short stretcher, set the saw's depth to 1⅜ inches deep. This will make the stretcher extend ⅝ inch past the surface of the leg when the table is finally assembled. The offset will give you a table that looks like it was built by a farmer rather than by West Elm. It'll look nice.
If simplicity is your style with a hassle-free manufacturing process of your farmhouse table requiring less time, this free DIY plan from Instructables is another choice you can make to build your table. Even if you are a novice at making tables, this detailed illustrated instructions from Instructables with a list of the materials required will help you out.
Per usual, I used pocket screws to fasten the table top together after applying glue to the edges. Pic 3 shows the underside of the table. A straight edge clamp and a circular saw were used to trim the ends of the top. The blue masking tape helps limit splintering from the saw. To see if the table was square, I compared the diagonal measurements across the table top. Diagonal measurements on a square or rectangle should be equal if the piece is square on all corners. It's not very critical on a rustic, distressed table since the table's charm comes from it's imperfections.
Since this 130 year old wood is painted on one surface I wanted to make sure it was sealed on all sides. This old paint most likely contains lead. It is always a good idea to seal both surfaces of a table top anyway to minimize warping from different rates of expansion and contraction. Prior to sealing the top, it was sanded with 100, 150 and 220 grit sandpaper. Two coats of Bullseye sealing shellac were applied to the top and bottom of the table top. Two coats of Bullseye amber shellac and one coat of Bullseye clear shellac was applied to the table top after sealing. Two coats of clear Briwax was rubbed into the top and buffed out for the final shine.
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After we got all our aggression out on the table, I applied a coat of Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner followed by a custom stain I came up with. I’ve purchased several “gray” stains that are supposed to give the wood a weathered, rustic look, but no matter how many coats I add, the gray barely colors the wood at all. I wanted the table to still be light enough to show all the wood grain, but have that old, weathered look to it, and this is the perfect mix I came up with:
If you want a large and beautiful farmhouse table in your dining room, you can go with this DIY plan from Domestic Imperfections. All you need is pine planks to make this beautiful table with lots of functionality and also, the design is easy-to-build. Though it is said to be a six-seater, you can add at least two more chairs to make nine people sit comfortably. The 2X10’s and 2X12’s top is bound together by pocket screws and wood glue providing stability.
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